About Us

In every community, boys and girls are sometimes left to find their own recreation and role models. Young people need to know that someone cares about them.

The Boys & Girls Club of Rockford offers that and more. Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of our youth by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for youth in our community, regardless of sex, race or economic background.

Our core programs engage young people in activities that enable them to reach their full potential. Based on the interests and needs of the youth we serve, clubs offer diverse program activities in three areas: Academic Success, Good Character and Leadership Development, and Healthy Lifestyles.

Boys & Girls Clubs are a safe place to learn and grow all while having fun. We mean it when we say "Great Futures Start Here”.

Our Mission

The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Rockford is to improve the quality of life for youth in our community, regardless of sex, race or economic background.


In February of 1906, A.W. Beckner was invited to address the Ladies Aid Society of the Old First Church. He was to give them an account of the work being done by the Rockford YMCA. From that parlor meeting, a woman’s auxiliary was formed, representing local churches.

The original intent of the formation of the auxiliary was to assist the YMCA in its efforts to help young men look after themselves. On May 4, 1908, the Rockford Boys Club was organized. Jessie Spafford was the first President of the organization and her signature is on the original charter and by-laws.At a special meeting of the directors held in February 1909, it was voted to buy the Hale property at the corner of Walnut and Madison Streets, the site of the future Downtown Boys Club.
In 1916 the building campaign was a success and $50,000 for a Boys Club building and $10,000 for partial endowment was raised to build the Downtown facility. Due to the high cost of renovation and the deterioration of the Club which was built in 1917, the organization sold the Club in 1999.

In the late 1940’s the Lincoln Park Boys Club was built to serve the far West Side on Monroe Avenue. The Lincoln Park Club was closed in 1986.
Because of the need and community support, concern and involvement, the Harlem Park Boys Club was built in 1969. In 1989 the Club was renamed the Carlson Boys & Girls Club.
Beginning in 1973, the Boys & Girls Club built nine baseball fields and seven of the fields are lighted. The organization has one of the largest youth baseball and basketball programs in the nation.
In 1982, the Eastside Boys Club was constructed. The Rockford Park District, in continuing its long partnership with the Boys & Girls Club, donated the land in which the Club was constructed. The Club was renamed the Flodin Boys & Girls Club in 1995.
In February 1988, the Rockford Housing Authority asked the organization to operate a Boys & Girls Club at the Blackhawk Community Center. In cooperation with the RHA, the Rockford Park District and the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Rockford organization opened one of the first Clubs in a housing development.
In the 1980’s, the Club began serving girls and in 1989 officially changed the name to Boys & Girls Club of Rockford.

In 2005, the 2nd Congregational Church Unit was established and serves the Rockford downtown area with extended learning programs and evening activities. This Unit is a partnership with 2nd Congregational Church.
orton keys
The Orton Keyes Unit was established in 2008 and is located in the Orton Keyes Housing Development which consists of 175 low-income subsidized units.
In 2012, the expansion and renovation of the Carlson Unit was completed adding a multipurpose activity center (gymnasium), updated computer lab, learning center and games room and a new concession area.

Today, the Boys & Girls Club of Rockford continues to provide the fine opportunities that began in 1908 for the youth of Rockford. Each Club is distinctly different but offers the same high quality programming that is available at Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the United States. Great Futures Start Here.